A. Policies regarding water activities and safety procedures. Direct supervision and in close physical proximity of Children is required at all times, by Child Care Staff Members in close physical proximity to allow intervention and within sight and sound of all Children in the swimming or wading activity area.
- A Child Care Facility that provides swimming or wading activities must develop policies and procedures regarding swimming and wading activities and safety procedures.
- Policies and procedures must cover all swimming or wading activities that take place at the Child Care Facility and away from the premises, e.g., at a public swimming Pool or beach.
- Policies and procedures must include a written emergency plan related to any swimming or wading activities, regardless of where they are conducted. The plan must be available to all staff. The plan must cover procedures for medical emergencies, chemical emergencies, drowning, severe weather and frequent verification that all Children are safe.
B. Parental permission. Prior to allowing a Child to participate in water activities, the Child Care Facility must have written permission from the Parent or Legal guardian. At least annually, the written Parental permission form must be updated, signed and dated by the Parent or Legal guardian. The signed and dated Parental permission form must be placed in the file maintained by the Child Care Facility for each Child’s records. The Parental permission form must include:
- The Child’s name and date of birth;
- The water activities offered;
- The Child’s swimming ability;
- Location of the water activities;
- The presence or absence of a lifeguard; and
- The Parent’s signature and date.
C. Surfaces. All water play equipment must be positioned on grass or energy absorbing material during use.
D. Minimum training and certification required for water activities. The Child Care Facility must have appropriately trained water attendant(s), as defined by this rule, present at all times during swim instruction or other swimming or wading activities.
- Wading Pools. Children must not be allowed to enter a Wading Pool without supervision by a Wading Pool Attendant.
- Swimming Pools. Children must not be allowed to enter any Swimming Pool deeper or wider than a Wading Pool without supervision by a Water Safety Attendant.
- Certified Lifeguard. Child Care Facilities who offer swimming activities in bodies of water more than 48 inches deep at any point must assure that a Certified Lifeguard is present during the swimming activity. A copy of the lifeguard’s current Lifeguard Training Certificate must be on file in the program.
E. Cleanliness. Swimming Pools must have sufficient clarity. The bottom must be clearly visible in the deepest part of the Pool. Swimming Pools must be equipped with a filtration and/or treatment system. Wading Pools must be cleaned and emptied daily, and as needed in response to the presence of contaminants.
F. Pool Accessibility.
- All Wading Pools must be emptied when not in use.
- Hot tubs must be protected by fencing or locked barriers to prevent access by Children.
- All in-ground Swimming Pools located in areas accessible to Children must be fenced. The fence must be at least four feet in height and secured with a Locked gate.
- All above-ground Swimming Pools must have non-climbable sidewalls that are at least four feet high or must be enclosed with a fence at least four feet in height and secured with a Locked gate. When the Pool is not in use, steps must be removed from the Pool or otherwise protected to prevent unsupervised access.
G. Emergency preparedness and drills.
- All Pools must have an accessible emergency telephone located in the Pool area. The telephone must be able to dial directly for emergency assistance.
- Water activity emergency drills must be conducted at least once a month in any month during which the water activity participation occurs. These drills must be conducted according to policies and procedures, which include the use of safety equipment, Child evacuation, routine methods of ensuring all Children are present, and emergency contacts.
- The facility must keep a written record of the type, date, time and duration of the training and drills.
H. Staff-Child ratios during water activities. Staff-Child ratios must be maintained at all times during swimming and wading.
- Wading Pool attendants may count toward staff-Child ratios. Water safety attendants, lifeguards, and swimming instructors do not count toward staff-Child ratios. Water safety attendants and Certified Lifeguards must be stationed outside and next to the Swimming Pool.
- When three or fewer Children are in the Swimming Pool, a water safety attendant may be included in staff-Child ratios. The water safety attendant must be solely responsible for supervision of the Children in the Swimming Pool.
- If the pool is more than four feet deep at any point, only Child Care Staff Members who are able to swim may be counted in the staff-Child ratios.
I. Swimming Pools. Child Care Facilities with Swimming Pools on the premises must be familiar with emergency procedures, the use of safety equipment and emergency contacts.
- Facilities must complete a safety checklist on any day which a swimming activity occurs. A checklist will be supplied by the Department and must be signed by the individual responsible for swimming activities on that day.
- Legible safety rules for the use of Swimming Pools must be posted in a conspicuous location and must be read and reviewed weekly by each Child Care Staff Member responsible for the supervision of Children.
J. Off-site Pools or natural bodies of water
- For water activities away from the Child Care Facility, when a Certified Lifeguard is on duty, the Child Care Facility must provide one water safety attendant for every 20 Children present.
a. Certified Lifeguards must not be counted as water safety attendants. Water safety attendants must not count in staff-Child ratios. Additional Child Care Staff Members must be present to complete staff-Child ratio requirements.
b. Water activities in natural bodies of water must be limited to a specific area established by the Child Care Facility by visual barriers on land and in the water.
- For water activities at off-site pools or natural bodies of water, when a Certified Lifeguard is not on duty, the Child Care Facility must provide one water safety attendant for every 13 Children present.
a. Water safety attendants and Certified Lifeguards must not be counted in staff-Child ratios. Additional Child Care Staff Members must be present to complete staff-Child ratio requirements.
b. A Child Care Facility that offers water activities at natural bodies of water or in pools over 24” deep, must give written notice to each Child’s Parent or Legal guardian that there will be no lifeguard on duty.
c. No fewer than two Child Care Staff Members who are at least 18 years of age must be present at all times during water activities at natural bodies of water.
d. Water activities in natural bodies of water must be limited to a specific area established by the Child Care Facility. Prior to any Child entering the water, the Child Care Facility must ensure that a barrier, such as a roped-off area with buoys, is in place that limits the swimming area in the lake or pond to an area that is no wider than 16 feet across at any point and partitions off a part of the water that is no deeper than four feet at any point.
K. Non – Swimmers. All non-swimmers must be clearly identified as Non-swimmers in a way that is visually and easily recognized by Child Care Staff Members, water safety attendants and Certified Lifeguards as applicable.